Dave Jacka just began his quest to become the first quadriplegic to fly solo around Australia. Family and friends saw the 44-year-old Fairfield resident off from the airport in Tooradin, Australia on April 28.
A wheelchair user since a car accident 25 years ago, Jacka only has a small amount of control of his shoulder, wrist and bicep. He never gave up on his childhood dream of learning to fly, however, starting lessons with a pilot in 2006. He controls the plane by sucking and blowing into a tube, and makes use of enlarged switches and levers in a modified plane. The nearly 10 000 mile solo flight will take Fairfield more than a month.
Jacka told Melbourne’s “Herald Sun” that attitudes toward his disability are often more limiting than his physical limitations, and that by completing this solo flight he hopes to “raise awareness of what people with disabilities can do and inspire people, whether they have a disability or not, to get out and have a go at their own dreams and goals in life.”